Increased Occurrences of Property Theft on Campus Poses as an Inconvenience for Students

Dozens of members of the Andover community own bikes, scooters, and other means of quick and convenient transportation. Recently, students and faculty members have reported missing properties and the lack of address or accountabilities being held for the thefts. 

Brandon Fu ’25 has been using a scooter almost daily since his Junior year. He spoke about how stealing has become normalized among many students.

“Over the course of last school year, [my scooter] was stolen 22 times, and I managed to recover it each of the 22 times… I think [scooter theft] is a part of the culture at Andover. [People] can use scooters to get to places faster if they’re about to be late for a class: they can ‘borrow’ a scooter and drop it off. The issue with that is that oftentimes when they come back outside, that scooter later gets stolen as well. So there are just scooters circulating around campus,” said Fu.

Mia Burton ’25 has also experienced similar thefts and shared her techniques for preventing such incidents. She emphasized the lack of address on scooter theft as a serious issue in the Andover community. 

“I lost my scooter… twice. I have an air tag on mine… [which] works pretty well for a general area. I would also recommend a lock. I think [scooter theft] is not the most serious problem on campus, but it definitely should be accepted as a problem to have students taking property that belongs to others who may have paid for them. I think that it’s definitely a prevailing issue in terms of just the fact that people are stealing from other people on campus.”

Along with the address of her own issue, Kelly Yang ’24 pointed out the limited attempts on campus to prevent property theft. Yang expressed that Andover executes minimal action toward change regarding stealing, and it remains a common occurrence around campus.

“My scooter has been stolen probably three times now. Each time I’ve managed to find it again, and I even bought an air tag for it, so I wouldn’t lose it anymore. But every single time it’s just shown up somewhere else. [Finding it] is mainly just luck… I feel like there’s nothing the school can really do besides send out an email that says ‘don’t steal each other’s stuff.’ It’d be great if they could stop my scooter from being stolen 24/7, but I just don’t know what they would do,” said Yang.

Mark Leonard, Director of Campus Safety, commented on the stolen bikes and scooters on campus regarding the collection of reported cases. Leonard expressed that there are one to two cases reported on average monthly. 

“We had seven or eight lost or stolen bicycles reported to us… and one skateboard so far since the beginning of this school year in September. It’s probably pretty close to average. We typically have one or two reports a month or so. After it is being reported, it’s often helpful with the person reporting it can give us as much identifiable information as they can,” said Leonard. 

Leonard continued, “We’ve had a couple of reports in the past where, these reports, the last time they got their bike it was outside of the Snyder Center. And we do have cameras outside that area. So we’ll check that and we’ve been able to have some success in seeing what happened there… sometimes another student might bike and just use it to go across campus, and then leave it, and it turns up on the other side of campus a few days later.”

Alexandra Booth, Instructor in History, reported a lost scooter owned by her daughter. She acknowledged frustration regarding missing scooters and bikes but also pointed out students’ own responsibility for keeping personal items in a public space. 

“I’m not sure how many students are aware of this, but you can and should register your bike or scooter with public safety so that they have a description of it. They give you a little campus safety PA sticker with a number on it so they can keep track of the different things that are on campus. That way, if anything is stolen, campus safety can look up the description of the object and keep an eye out for it,” said Booth. 

Booth continued, “I think [scooter theft] can also be a personal accountability issue. I see tons of bikes all over campus without locks and bikes… with locks that are not locked to anything… going out into the world, you probably [shouldn’t] necessarily expect the same level of safety that you would in your own home.”

Fu spoke to scooter stealers, emphasizing the harm any form of theft inflicts upon the Andover community. He urged them to reconsider their actions and display empathy toward scooter and bike owners.

“Simply put, don’t steal. It’s not a good thing to do. It doesn’t look good on your character, and it doesn’t look good on your friends. It’s a short-term gain for a long-term moral loss…. It would be really great if you could add to the Non-Sibi Big Blue spirit that we have here already on campus by just staying clean. Don’t steal: put yourself in the position of the person who owns the scooter. Have some empathy,” said Fu.